90 Number-like Words

There are several types of compound words derived from numbers.

The first type are derived adjectives of form number + measure. English examples would be 10-inch or four-year. In Croatian, they are spelled without a hyphen – in the standard spelling, at least – and the second part must be a (relational) adjective. The first part is derived from the ‘compounding forms’ of numbers:

1- jedno-
2- dvo-
3- tro-
4- četvero-
5- peto-
6- šesto-
7- sedmo-
8- osmo-
9- deveto-
10- deseto-
11- jedanaesto-
12- dvanaesto-
20- dvadeseto-
100- sto-
200- dvjesto-
1000- tisuću-
many više-

For example:

trodnevni three-day
četverogodišnji four-year
četrdesetogodišnji forty-year

The linking vowel (-o- in most forms) appended to create the compound form is lost in rare cases when an adjective begins with a vowel; it’s not lost if the vowel is a part of the original number:

desetinčni 10-inch stoinčni 100-inch

Despite being spelled as one word, they often pronounced with two places of stress, one on the number, another on the adjective. (You will occasionally see such adjectives in a non-standard spelling, as two words, or even with a hyphen, e.g. deset-inčni and deset inčni)

They are used as any other adjective:

Sutra počinje trodnevni festival. A three-day festival begins tomorrow.

Bili smo na dvotjednom odmoru. We were on two-week vacation.

With forms derived from numbers based on 10 (10, 20, 50, etc.) you’ll sometimes see forms without the vowel -o-, that is pedesetgodišnji besides usual pedesetogodišnji. You will also see non-standard forms derived from numbers 5, 6 and 7, like ones for 4, that is:

(all colloq.)
5- petero-
6- šestero-
7- sedmero-
8- osmero-

When such adjectives – derived from relative adjectives of time periods – are used with people and animals, they mean three-year-old, forty-year-old, etc. For example:

Dovela je šestogodišnjeg sina. She brought her six-year-old son.

Note that the words derived from šesto- can mean both 6- and 600-; therefore, some people write compounds derived from 600- as šeststo-. In the real life, confusion is rare – there are very few 600-year-olds around.

The second type uses suffix -ak to create numbers (not adjectives!) that correspond to English -odd. They are formed only from ‘round’ numbers, such as:

desetak ten-odd
dvadesetak twenty-odd
stotinjak hundred-odd

The third type are nouns derived from smaller numbers using -ica and -ka (the derivation is not regular, forms must be remembered):

1 → jedinica
2 → dvojka
3 → trojka
4 → četvorka
5 → petica
6 → šestica
7 → sedmica
8 → osmica
9 → devetka
10 → desetka

They mean e.g. ‘digit two’, or colloquially, something with the number on it, e.g. a playing card, bus or tram – depending on the context:

Čekat ću šesticu. (colloq.) I’ll wait for a number 6 tram.

However nouns derived from 1, 3 and 4 have special meanings as well:

jedinica unit
trojka three-person team
četvorka four-person team

(English sometimes uses a noun for the three-person team, taken from Russian: troika. You see it’s almost identical to Croatian.)

For two-person teams (and other two-item groups), the common word is par pair.

The fourth type are nouns for ‘x-year-olds’ (i.e. boys/girls, men/women, but occasionally other animals, even some products). They are derived from the ‘compounding forms’ with appended godišnji by further appending -njak (m) and -njakinja (f). As with the most other male/female pairs, the male form is also generic/default:

Četverogodišnjaci vole trčati. Four-year-olds like to run. (i.e. Four-year-old kids)

(the rest is coming soon)

5 Easy Croatian: 90 Number-like Words There are several types of compound words derived from numbers. The first type are derived adjectives of form number + measure . English...

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